Health & Nutrition - - HEAL THY SELF -

and even dis­abling. They can re­sult in poor sleep, a change in ap­petite, se­vere fa­tigue and dif­fi­culty con­cen­trat­ing. Ma­jor de­pres­sion may in­crease the risk of sui­cide. ● Mi­nor de­pres­sion, of­ten known as dys­thymia, a less se­vere but more chronic form of de­pres­sion. Symptoms usu­ally aren’t dis­abling, and pe­ri­ods of de­pres­sion can al­ter­nate with short pe­ri­ods of feel­ing nor­mal. Hav­ing dys­thymia places you at an in­creased risk for ma­jor de­pres­sion. ● Bipo­lar dis­or­der. The pri­mary symptoms of bipo­lar dis­or­der are dra­matic and un­pre­dictable mood swings – where pe­ri­ods of de­pres­sion cy­cle with pe­ri­ods of ma­nia (ela­tion). Be­cause this con­di­tion in­volves emo­tions at both ex­tremes (poles), it’s called bipo­lar dis­or­der or manic-de­pres­sive dis­or­der. There are ad­di­tional sub- cat­e­gories of de­pres­sion such as post-par­tum de­pres­sion and sea­sonal de­pres­sion. The present col­umn deals with the red flags for ma­jor de­pres­sion and bipo­lar dis­or­der. Two hall­marks of clin­i­cal de­pres­sion — the big red flags — are: 1. De­pressed mood. You feel a per­sis­tent sad­ness or pes­simism, help­less or hope­less, and may have cry­ing spells, or ex­ces­sive emo­tional sen­si­tiv­ity. 2. Loss of in­ter­est in nor­mal daily ac­tiv­i­ties. You lose in­ter­est in or plea­sure from ac­tiv­i­ties that you used to en­joy – eat­ing, work, friends, hob­bies, leisure ac­tiv­i­ties, and sex. The con­di­tion is known as an­he­do­nia. In ad­di­tion to th­ese core warn­ing signs, in some (not all) per­sons, de­pres­sion may also be

can of­ten pre­vent the ill­ness from be­com­ing dis­abling and even life-threat­en­ing

marked by one or more of th­ese signs and symptoms: ● Sleep dis­tur­bances. Ei­ther in­som­nia (hav­ing trou­ble sleep­ing), or over-sleep­ing (hy­per­som­nia) can be a red flag for de­pres­sion. Wak­ing in the mid­dle of the night or early in the morn­ing and not be­ing able to get back to sleep are typ­i­cal. ● Im­paired think­ing or con­cen­tra­tion. You may have trou­ble con­cen­trat­ing, re­mem­ber­ing or mak­ing de­ci­sions. ● Ap­petite and weight changes. You may be experiencing ei­ther re­duced or in­creased ap­petite; or sig­nif­i­cant weight loss or gain. ● Ag­i­ta­tion, ir­ri­tabil­ity. You may seem rest­less, ag­i­tated, ir­ri­ta­ble and eas­ily an­noyed. This is more likely if you are male: men tend to deny hav­ing prob­lems be­cause they feel they have to “be strong”. So, they may show fewer of the “typ­i­cal”

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